Here come some new exceptions
Copyright / May 2014

COPYRIGHT All areas   “After a lengthy two-year legislative process, the UK is nearly ready to drag its copyright law into the digital era. The country’s Intellectual Property Office has published the final version of copyright exceptions that make “it legal to rip CDs and otherwise shift formats”. As of June 1st, Brits can copy media as much as they like for personal use. Institutions can also make duplicates for backups or research, and the Secretary of State can tell copyright holders to make content accessible if paying for an alternative format isn’t practical. Out-and-out piracy is still forbidden, of course, but the new measures should let locals modernize their media collections without feeling a twinge of guilt”   The Government has finally issued an extensive pile of paperwork dealing with its implementation of the new Exceptions recommended by the Hargreaves report. There are to be five separate exceptions, dealing with: –          what used to be called private copying and what we must now learn to call Personal Copying for Private Use –          Quotation and Parody; –          Public Administration; –          Research, Education, Libraries and Archives; and –          Disabilities.   While the process that has led to these drafts has been…

Wrexham pub banned from playing music until licensed
Copyright , Live Events / May 2014

COPYRIGHT Live events   Mr Justice Nugee has banned the proprietors of a Wrexham cafe from playing recorded music because of the lack of a proper licece. Matthew Arnold and Amy Duckett, trading as the Yales Cafe were caught playing music there without a suitable licence. In addition to the ban, which extends to any premises they run, they were ordered to pay a legal costs bill of £1,789, which must be paid within 14 days. The action was brought by Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) – a PPL inspector found playing music on the premisesm including Get Lucky by Daft Punk ft Pharrell Williams, Eat Sleep Rave Repeat by Fatboy Slim and Laura Palmer, by British band Bastille without a PPL licence. PPL’s solicitors had sent letters to the premises informing them of the nature and extent of PPL’s repertoire and the fact the playing in public of sound recordings without PPL’s licence or permission constitutes infringement of its copyright, and inviting them to acquire a licence – which they failed to do before the High Court action.

UK sets minimum standards for collection societies

COPYRIGHT Music publishing, recorded music   The UK has introduced new legislation that gives formal legal backing to the ‘minimum standards’ for collecting societies that were originally published by the Intellectual Property Office back in 2012 on the back of the government-commissioned Hargreaves Review of copyright laws. The IPO minimum standards document sets out certain rules for UK collecting societies – including those that represent music rights owners where collective licensing applies – with regards transparency and complaints procedures, mainly with a view to protecting the interests of licensees, and trying to make the collective licensing process a little easier to understand. The IPO’s press relase says that new regulations for collecting societies will offer greater clarity for people using copyright works in their business: Pubs, bars and shops that require a licence to play music or schools who photocopy copyright material will find to find their legal rights easier to understand as changes to the law came into force on 6 April 2014: Last year UK collecting societies collected a total of £1 billion in licence fees for their members. Following discussions with Government, many collecting societies have already put in place their own Codes of Practice which set out minimum…

Bob Marley songs dispute heading for high court

COPYRIGHT Music publishing   Cayman Music and Blue Mountain Music are set to go to the High Court to settle the dispute over a handful of songs widely believed to have been written by Bob Marley in the early 1970s, but which at the time were credited to his friends, in the case of ‘No Woman, No Cry’ the credit went to Vincent Ford. It has long been speculated that Marley did this to circumvent his contractual commitments to Cayman Music, his original publisher, which had signed Marley in 1967. Confirming that the long-running dispute was now heading to court, Cayman said in a statement earlier his week: “It is now common ground between the disputing parties that the songs – including ‘No Woman, No Cry’ – were actually written by Bob Marley but that the music publisher’s share was never credited to Cayman Music, who have now been denied their contracted entitlement for more than 40 years” concluding  “On 12 May this fascinating and unique story involving a complex cast of characters, the most successful black artist of all time, and his most famous song, purportedly stolen from its rightful owners before it was even recorded, may be one…

Pandora face pre-1972 copyright action from major record labels
Copyright , Internet / May 2014

COPYRIGHT Sound recordings, internet, broadcasting   The major record labels are now suing Pandora for exploiting sound recordings made prior to Feb. 15, 1972. Last September, a similar lawsuit was filed against Sirius XM. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) explains that the claim arises as sound recordings didn’t begin falling under federal copyright protection until 1972 and therefore the streaming service might not be able to rely upon blanket licences from SoundExchange, the performance rights organization that collects digital and satellite royalties on the behalf of sound recording copyright owners. The record labels are testing this belief, now asserting New York state misappropriation claims over older music being streaming on Pandora saying “Pandora’s refusal to pay Plaintiffs for its use of [Pre-72] recordings is fundamentally unfair” and the companies say in their complaint “Pandora’s conduct also is unfair to the recording artists and musicians whose performances are embodied in Pre-72 Recordings, but who do not get paid for Pandora’s exploitation of Pre-72 Recordings.”

Manolito is not the next Spanish summer hit

COPYRIGHT Internet, recorded music, music publishing   The Court of Appeal of Madrid published its judgment in the controversial Pablo Soto case. In Spain, music is one of the creative industries that has been most affected by piracy, suffering not only from illegal downloads but also from the unfair competition of P2P platforms, which are not generally liable for the unlawful activities of their users. This case started in 2008 when Promusicae (the collecting society representing the music producers in Spain) together with Universal Music Spain SL, Warner Music Spain SL, Sony BMG Music Entertainment Spain SA and EMI Music Spain SA brought an action before the Court of First Instance of Madrid against Mr Pablo Soto Bravo and the two companies solely directed by him, namely OPTISOFT SL and PIOLET NETWORKS SL plus the company M PUNTO 2 PUNTO TECHNOLOGIES SA. The plaintiffs sought removal of Blubster, Piolet and Manolito both in their free-of-charge and pay-for versions. These sites consisted of an advanced development of the P2P protocol, whereby the search and the sharing of contents are decentralized, meaning that they can be run on the internet within the users’ computers, once those applications are downloaded or bought from…

Photography spat puts snapper’s rights in the frame
Artists , Copyright / May 2014

COPYRIGHT Artists   When Sydney based photographer Rohan Anderson spotted one of his pictures on the Facebook page of  Florida-based alt-rock group Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, he was hoping that he might be credited and wondered why the band had posted – without permission or attribution –  a cropped and filtered version of his photo of their guitar player and indeed Anderson wanted to have that version taken off the band’s Facebook page. Having now added a credit, what followed was a Facebook exchange with the band claiming “You have no legal claim as the photo is credited and is not posted for a monetary gain and features our likeness and image not yours. Also you have just got your self banned from any festival or show we ever play again in that region for life! Congrats!” Anderson, a student at New South Wales University, asked one of his visiting lecturers (who happened to be a copyright  lawyer) to confirm his understanding that he did indeed own the copyright in his images he had taken – which he did – and Anderson, 22, told Digiday that this is not the first time he’s had to ask a band to either credit his work or take…

ARTICLE LINK: Interview with veteran music attorney Lee Phillips
Copyright / May 2014

COPYRIGHT All areas   “With almost a half-century under his belt since starting in private practice, music and entertainment attorney Lee Phillips has seen it all, but even he is amazed at the transformation in the record industry over the past decade and a half” With clients including Barbra Streisand, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach, the Eagles, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry and Tracy Chapman, it’s an interesting read in the Hollywood Reporter

The (Dead) Mouse that roared at Mickey
Artists , Trade Mark / May 2014

TRADE MARK All areas, artistes   It was reported in several news outlets  that Disney Enterprises, Inc. will likely oppose a U.S. trade mark application filed on behalf of Canadian DJ and electronic music artist Deadmau5 (aka Joel Thomas Zimmerman). Deadmau5’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published trade mark application includes the design of a mouse’s head, which might be viewed as slightly similar to Disney’s iconic Mickey Mouse character in as much as it IS a cartoon mouse. The two marks though portray very different images to each other – the ‘wholesome’ Mickey Mouse image – and the dance music orientated (with its drug connotations) DJ and dance music world. One of Disney’s concerns may well be that the Deadmau5 application covers a broad range of goods and services including electronic devices (IC 009), off-road bicycles (IC 012), printed publications (IC 016), leather goods (IC 018), clothing (IC 025), toys (IC 028), food preparations (IC 030), beverages (IC 032), and entertainment services (IC 041).  The application was accepted by a USPTO examining attorney and published on March 4, 2014. Less than a week from being granted registration, counsel for Disney filed a 90 day Extension Request pursuant to 37…

Prince – the Legend and the Label kiss and make up

CONTRACT Artists, sound recordings   Since the infamous fallout between Prince and his record label Warner Bros, which resulted in Prince changing his name to a symbol that was virtually impossible to pronounce, the legend and the label appear to have kissed and made up. The pair have partnered up and the new deal will see the re-mastered re-release of the album “Purple Rain” in the midst of its 30 year anniversary, with new material also hinted at by Prince, with his new backing group 3rd Eye Girl. However, and perhaps most importantly (because Prince has sold approximately 14 million albums through Warner Bros.), at the heart of the deal lies the transference of ownership in Prince’s back catalogue currently with Warner Bros…. but now moving to Prince. At first glance it may appear as though Warner Bros. were unprecedentedly keen to get the artist back on side and rid themselves of the ‘slave-masters’ title he’d once given them. Yet, on closer inspection, a piece of American Copyright Legislation made in 1978 may have acted as the initiator and mediator. Subject to certain conditions, this particular legislation allows creators to reclaim ownership of their copyrighted work, if it was previously…

Warners settle digital royalty class action, but Paisley sues Sony for underpayments
Artists , Contract / May 2014

CONTRACT Artists, recorded music   Another digital royalties settlement seems to have been reached after Warner Music Group agreed to pay $11.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit that alleged the WMG failed to properly credit royalty payments to class members from the exploitation of digital downloads and mastertones of recordings under certain contracts. Sony have already settled a similar action. The plaintiffs, named as the members of Sister Sledge, Ronee Blakley; Simone Johnson Risko; Emlio Castillo; Mikael Johnston; and Gary Wright claimed Warner Music Group failed to provide proper royalty payments to them from digital downloads and mastertones and claimed the exploitation of digital downloads and mastertones should be considered a “license” instead of a “sale” resulting in a far higher share of income to artists. To compensate class members for downloads/mastertones that have already been the subject of a royalty payment, Warner will make available $11.5 million for settlement for income generated between January 1st 2009, and December 31st, 2012. The parties have stipulated that the total U.S. sales by WMG of subject masters as downloads and mastertones for the settlement class for the period is more than $381 million. As defined by the class action settlement, “Royalty Rate Basis” means a calculation based on…

All age events back on track in Melbourne
Licensing , Live Events / May 2014

LICENSING Live events industry   “All-ages” gigs are set to return to some of Melbourne’s music venue under changes made by the state government. The new laws, which came into effect in April, remove the requirement for liquor licensees to get approval to host alcohol-free under-age and all-ages live music events in licensed venues under the previously bureaucratic procedure that requited  venues to apply for an all-ages, alcohol-free event giving at least 45 days notice – often an impossibility given touring schedules, and a costly administrative burden. State Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation Edward O’Donohue said the changes removed onerous paperwork saying ”Venues across the state, like the famous Corner Hotel, are able to host under-age shows without the paperwork and costs that had previously made them too expensive and time consuming to contemplate,.’ It is estimated that live music contributed $301 million towards Victoria’s economy in 2009-10, supporting 15,000 jobs. Read more:

Christ’s passion stumped by Council’s decision
Licensing , Live Events / May 2014

LICENSING Live events industry   A planned Easter performance of Christ’s Passion was refused a licence by Oxford city Council after the Licensing Authority mistook the play for a sex show. The performance, which tells the story of the crucifixion of Christ, had been planned for Good Friday by St Stephen’s House Theological College and Saints Mary and John Church in Oxford. However Licensing team Leader Julian Alison admitted that he did not realise that the performance was a religious event and a local councillor said that that the Authority was worried that staging the show without a licence would be an offence. The Passion was cancelled at short notice. A Passion play is a dramatic performance of the Passion of Christ, depicting the trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus. The name comes from the Latin verb ‘pati’ – meaning ‘to suffer’. The Oxford performance was previously held in 2012, without a licence, when an audience of some 200 watched Mischa Richards, playing Jesus, haul a wooden cross from Cowley Road Methodist church to Saints Mary and John. This year, the organisers decided to stage a repeat, but were told they must apply for a council licence – and were…

Extortion and Theft added to the list of Jay Z’s ‘99 Problems
Artists , Criminal Law / May 2014

CRIMINAL LAW Artists, sound recordings   Chauncey Mahan, a producer who worked with rapper Shawn Carter, better known as Jay Z, between 1998 and 2002 was detained and taken into an LAPD station for questioning on 18 April 2014, for allegations of theft and extortion. The allegations centre on the fact that the producer was apparently in possession of several master recordings of Jay Z’s work, valued to be at the least worth $15 million. The issue being that Jay Z and ‘his people’ were under the impression that the master recordings in question had been lost when they went missing in 2002. Things appeared to sour quickly for the producer when he involved the entertainment company that is famous for its concert sales, Live Nation. Live Nation created its strong link to Jay Z in 2008, when it partnered with the 17 time Grammy Award winning rapper to create the global entertainment company and record label, Roc Nation, distributed by Universal Music Group. Mahan is said to have contacted Live Nation stating that he was in possession of several master recordings and that Live Nation could acquire these for a mere $100,000.00. But Mahan attempted to justify his price…

Sorry Mrs Jackson; Michael Jackson’s mother ordered to pay AEG court costs
Artists / May 2014

NEGLIGENCE Artists   Leeza Panayiotou writes that Michael Jackson’s mother has been ordered to pay AEG Live’s costs of successfully defending a negligence claim over Michael Jackson’s death. The ruling comes following the claim Mrs Jackson brought against the concert promoters of Michael Jackson’s 2009 comeback tour “This Is It”.  Mrs Jackson brought the claim against AEG in light of the fact that they hired and paid Conrad Murray (the Cardiologist and Doctor who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter) to supervise and assist Michael Jackson’s health care. A jury found that AEG were not negligent in hiring Murray due to the fact that at the time of hiring, Murray was neither unfit to do his job nor an incompetent medical professional, leaving AEG to assume that a licensed Doctor would administer safe health care and treatment. Katherine Jackson’s legal team were not granted leave to appeal the jury’s decision on this matter. While AEG’s costs have yet to be finalised, they had initially requested costs in excess of $1 million. A Judge ruled in line with Mrs Jackson’s legal team that this amount was excessive and ruled that costs should be in the region of $800,000.00. Mrs Jackson’s legal…

War Horse musicians fail to get their jobs back

EMPLOYMENT LAW Live events sector   Five musicians who were in the live orchestra for the London theatre shows of ‘War Horse’ have failed in a bid to get their jobs back after being made redundant and replaced by pre-recorded music. The musicians, backed by the Musicians Union, argued that their cutting from the production breached contracts they had with the show’s producer the National Theatre, and in an initial action the musicians attempted to get an injunction to force the NT to reinstate them pending a full hearing on the breach of contract dispute. However the judge in the case, Mr Justice Cranston, said that he wasn’t persuaded to issue the interim order, even though he thought the claimants’ wider case would be “strong” if and when it reached court. Neyire Ashworth, Andrew Callard, Jonathan Eddie, David Holt and Colin Rae – who had been with the hit show since 2009 – had their roles cut back in March 2013 to just a few minutes per performance before being made redundant. The National Theatre said the decision to cut live music from the show was made for artistic and financial reasons. According to the BBC,  the musicians’ legal counsel…

US lawsuit to put the spotlight on festival volunteers

EMPLOYMENT LAW Live events sector   A class action lawsuit in the States has put the focus on the use of volunteer labour at music festivals, something many large scale music events depend on. According to, a new lawsuit is aimed at Live Nation and its festival promotion partner Insomniac Events, and has been brought by an Elizabeth Valladares, who volunteered at the Californian edition of dance music festival Nocturnal Wonderland in return for a free ticket to the festival The plaintiff claims that the event’s organisers violated America’s Fair Labor Standards Act by recruiting volunteers to “carry out the work of paid employees”. Federal labor law defines a volunteer as an individual who “performs hours of service for a public agency for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation for services rendered”. ClassAction also note that California’s state labor laws would also apply to workers. The lkawsuit alleges that Valladares spent the entire time at the festival (12.30pm to 02.30am) in the general store selling goods to customers, except when taking a single meal break, and had no time off to enjoy the festival. The lawsuit claims Insomniac is taking advantage of volunteers’ love for…

Kylie dancers get paid after outcry
Artists , Employment Law / May 2014

EMPLOYMENT LAW Artists   Warner Music Australia has agreed to pay the dancers who appeared with Kylie Minogue in her new ‘I was Gonna Cancel‘ video and those who performed during a performance at the Logie Awards at least the legal minimum wage for Australia. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a number of professional dancers were asked to work on the eleven hour video shoot for free, or below the standard rate. After complaints, some were then offered AUS$100 (about £55). Meanwhile, the dancers who appeared at the Australia TV awards ceremony were offered AUS$700 (£385) for their time. Director of the Equity Australia union Sue McCreadie said that Warner Music and the production company behind the video had now agreed to pay legal minimum rates to all of the 30 affected dancers for both performances. This ranges from AUS$174 (£95) to AUS$448 (£246) for the video (depending on each dancer’s experience) and up to AUS$1156 (£636) for the Loogie Awards show.

Paul Weller wins privacy action against the Mail Online
Artists , Media , Privacy / May 2014

PRIVACY Artistes, media   Paul Weller has won £10,000 damages after a number of pictures of his 16 year old daughter Dylan and then 10 month of twins John-Paul and Bowie were used on the Mail Online. The High Court in London ordered Associated Newspapers to pay the sum after Weller complained of an invasion of privacy on behalf of his family. Seven paparazzi photos were published in October 2012 under the headline “A family day out: Paul Weller takes wife Hannah and his twin sons out for a spot of shopping in the hot LA sun”. The couple said the shots were “plainly voyeuristic” : A paparazzo had followed the family on a shopping trip in Santa Monica, California, and took photographs without their consent despite being asked to stop. In court, Associated Newspapers argued the images, in which the children’s faces were not pixellated, were entirely innocuous and inoffensive and the Wellers had previously chosen to open up their private family life to public gaze to a significant degree. The High Court found that whilst the images could have been published legally in California, their appearance in the UK violated the right to privacy enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and…

Australia senator proposes nationwide anti-scalping laws
Consumers , Live Events / May 2014

CONSUMER Live events sector   In Australia a senate Economics References Committee (SERC) member has called for a national law to be introduced to tackle the “scourge” of ticket touting. The independent senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, made the plea following the release of a SERC inquiry report on the subject, which made recommendations based on evidence supplied by 21 parties. Xenophon instigated the enquiry after disquiet over tickets for shows such as One Direction’s Australian GTour, priced at A$79, were being re-sold in eBay for A$4,000. The Senator called for “clear national consumer protection law that brings to an end this scourge on music and sports events”. The senator is keen on measures including a cap on the price of resale tickets, ticket sales to be subject to statutory consumer protection measures prohibiting and for secondary sites to reveal the of identify sellers. He also said promoters and other primary sellers should make the public aware of the number of tickets being sold and those being passed on to others including sponsors and  secondary markets.  New South Wale has already begun the process of implementing state laws to govern the re-sale of tickets – capping any  mark up…

Live Nation settle consumer protection claim over ticket mark ups
Consumers , Live Events / May 2014

CONSUMER Live events sector   Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) could be liable for up $38 million in compensation and costs following the conclusion of a class action lawsuit, brought against the company by disgruntled concert-goers in 2009. However the final cost will depend on the number of eligible ticket buyers taking up the settlement. Two music fans initially filed a lawsuit against LNE when they were charged a $6 parking fee on their ticket purchases for the 17,500-capacity PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, regardless of whether they intended to use the car park. Nearly 363,000 fans were covered by the settlement (in which LNE accepted no wrongdoing) and which entitles each fan to three free tickets and a $5 discount on future purchases. LNE must pay $1.7 million in legal costs and $7,500 to each of the two original claimants.  So far only 10% of eligible ticket buyers have applied under the class action scheme.   Audience Issue 171, April 2014

All Party Parliamentary Group will table legislative reform
Consumers , Live Events / May 2014

CONSUMER Live events sector   The UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse has published the findings of its recent review of the secondary ticketing market, and says it will now table amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill, due to be debated in the House Of Commons next month with legislation to regulate ticket resale sites to follow. The APPG’s report does not seek an outright ban in ticket reselling but seeks safeguards to ensure resale platforms are not used by ticket fraudsters, and to ensure that sites are more transparent so vendors can be identified. . Amongst the Group’s recommendations are the following:   Guaranteed compensation for fans falling victim to ticket scams through resale websites, covering their costs for getting to the event. A legal requirement for resale websites to publish full information about the tickets listed through them, as well as information on the seller. A further requirement for resale websites to declare where tickets have been given directly to them from an event organiser, as well as to investigate the provenance of tickets where one individual tries to sell more than 20 for one show. Responsibility for tracking down and prosecuting those committing ticket crimes to…

Music Attorney of the Year 2014 is…
Copyright / May 2014

…Jay L. Cooper received has received the distinguished “Music Attorney of the Year Award” at A&R Worldwide’s International Music Industry Awards 2014. The founder of Greenberg Traurig LLP’s LA practice, the firm announced that Cooper was recognized for “his outstanding contributions to The Worldwide Music Industry.” Cooper is Co-Chairman of the Alliance of Artists & Recording Companies and a Board member of SoundExchange. He accepted the award at the 10th annual MUSEXPO music conference held on April 9 in Los Angeles. Read more at:

New Book: Sorrow Will Come in the End
Copyright , Media / May 2014

BOOK : A new book by Jeremy Grice titled “Sorrow will come in the end” looks particularly interesting. It’s tagline is “Legal case studies in the music, theatre and entertainment industries” and the author – who is Head of Music, Theatre and Entertainment at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts  -covers a number of now legendary cases including the lengthy ‘Apple’ trade mark dispute between the Beatles and Apple Inc, the battle between Morrissey and two other members of  The Smiths (the title is taken from a Morrissey lyric), the litigation between Stone Roses and their record label Zomba, and the dispute between Gary Kemp and three other members of Spandau Ballet, Tony Hadley, John Keeble and Steve Norman, over music publishing royalties. More on Jeremy’s website here